Snowball Wreath Redux

Longtime readers may remember my post about the Snowball Wreath block, a block originally published in the Kansas City Star in the 1930s as a Laura Wheeler design. It is number 1515 in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns with the name “Snowball Wreath.”

This came up again when Kelly found a newspaper clipping of the block on eBay and let me know about it. Since the block came up again, I did a Google search to see if any quilts had come up with this pattern. Lo and behold, Barbara Brackman had done a post on the block in 2009. I don’t read her blog regularly, though I should, and missed this post.

She talked about photos she had received of a quilt from Alabama. She recognized the block immediately as the Snowball Wreath. If you go to her blog, you can see that the quilt is actually made from blocks of that pattern!

It doesn’t look like the maker actually pieced the quilt from the pattern. It is hard to tell from a photo, but I think the ‘wreath’ part of the block was appliqued on to muslin.

Brackman gives information on getting the pattern and asks people to write in if they try the block or know of a quilt made up in the pattern.

The 2009 post is followed up with a January 2010 post with results of the query. In the post she talks about Vivian making the block and the changes she made to the pattern to make it pieceable.

Vivian actually made a top from the block pattern, after buying BlockBase just to get the pattern! She started talking about it right after BB posted about it on her blog.

Snowball Wreath Quilt Index
Snowball Wreath Quilt Index

I also found a reference to it in the Quilt Index. You can see a lot of the old newspaper patterns in the Quilt Index as well as examples of quilts and blocks. It is a worthy cause to which to donate.

ScrapHappy, who writes the soscrappy blog also tried the Snowball Wreath pattern and posted about it on her blog. she made it in miniature using paper piecing. This appears to be from some kind of BOM or group project from a shop called Sentimental Stitches. I came across a PDF with a pattern in my Google travels.

Flourishing Palms made a version of the block in 2011, though it is slightly different than the original. She calls the fabrics ugly, though I don’t think they are ugly. Again, to each his own. The interesting thing is that she wasn’t aware of my post or Barbara Brackman’s. She just flipped to it in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns book. Odd and interesting!

Helen, from the Being, Nothingness and 1000 Quilt Blocks blog, wrote in another blog post, also from 2011, the block is shown with a bunch of others after a discussion of Existentialism! the goal of this blog was to create 1,000 quilt blocks and read 600 pages of Satre in one year. I don’t think she made her deadline, but she is still plugging away on both. It is interesting to read the Satre bits and then look at quilt blocks. The first post of the blog describes the project a bit and, on the Gallery page, she writes “… in my quest to complete all the quilt blocks in Maggi McCormick Gordon’s 1000 Great Quilt Blocks.” I want to do this kind of project some time. The Tula Pink City Sampler could be a warm-up for a larger project. Barbara Brackman’s book or Jinny Beyer’s book? Either would be a retirement project.

I have to say that this block still fascinates me and I might try another version.

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

6 thoughts on “Snowball Wreath Redux”

  1. I have not seen that block before. I really like that one you made. I am still quite bad at applique, especially anything with curves, but I am getting better. I think this one is still a bit out of reach of success for me though.

    1. I don’t think it is very common. I think Barbara Brackman said she had only seen one vintage quilt made from the pattern (1930s pattern). If you look at the original templates, they are crazy! Still, I would like to try and make the block from the actual templates, as a test. We’ll see.

  2. That’s some crazy block. And I’d love to see how you get on if you have a go using the templates. I went and had a look at Vivian’s, she did a nice job, but I’m drawn more to he colours you used in your experiment.

    1. Well, I always like a good challenge. 😉

      I like my brights and think that pulling past blocks from the attic is a great way to add interest to quiltmaking – going beyond the 9 patch and pinwheel (not that those aren’t great blocks!)

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